A 32,414-acre wildfire burning in Sierra Nevada forests continued Thursday to move toward Hume Lake and nearby campgrounds after thousands of people fled the flames.
More than 1,000 firefighters were tackling the Rough fire as flames ran through trees, chaparral and tall grass in steep hillsides and isolated ridges in the Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire was only 3% contained Thursday and burning in a drainage.
Hand crews and bulldozers worked throughout the day to establish a containment line, but flames appeared to move closer to the Hume Lake Christian Camp, a year-round campground for teens and adults.
In just 2½ hours, more than 2,500 people fled nearby cabins, campgrounds and the Hume Lake Christian Camp as flames crossed the Kings River and Highway 180. As the fire grew rapidly, campers, hikers and residents sought safer ground.
The lightning-sparked fire started July 31 just east of Fresno but spread rapidly early this week because of low humidity and warm temperatures. The fire is nearing the lake, which is in Sequoia National Forest to the south.
By Wednesday night, the fire remained along ridge tops near Kings Canyon, according to Hume Lake Christian Camp.
“Night watches will keep on constant lookout for any changes tonight, but the fire has settled down with nightfall,” the camp said.
Although the camp was evacuated, more than 400 firefighters remained to defend structures from approaching flames.
“We ask that you pray for their safety as they get ready to defend the area,” the camp said.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said a smoke plume from the fire rose more than 20,000 feet Wednesday.
Firefighters are expecting cooler weather, which should allow them to make progress at night and through the weekend.
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